The Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured images of the faintest exoplanet yet after data from two European sky-mapping missions indicated that something was tugging at the orbit of a distant young star.
the a star In the question is called AF Leporis which is about 87.5 light years away from Land in the constellation Lipos South of the celestial equator. Two teams of astronomers recently focused on this star after rummaging through data collected by the European Space Agency’s Hipparcos and Jaya space telescopes These two spacecraft focus on mapping the positions and paths of stars in the sky. When astronomers examined telescope observations of AF Leporis, they found strange changes in the star’s orbit, indicating the possible presence of a large planet in its orbit.
“The planets exert a gravitational pull on their host stars, perturbing their trajectory in the sky,” says the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which manages A very large telescope (VLT), which released the photos on February 20, wrote in a statement (Opens in a new tab). “The two teams found that the star AF Leporis showed such a turbulent track, a telltale sign that a planet might be hiding out there.”
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The two teams used a VLT adaptive optics system called SPHERE, which can correct for detected signal distortion caused by Earth’s atmosphere. Sphere is also equipped with a coronagraph, a device that blocks intense light from the star and enables astronomers to study the dim star’s surroundings in better detail.
Astronomers’ intuition proved correct exoplanet Four to six times the mass Solar SystemThe largest planet Jupiter It orbited AF Leporis at about the same distance as Saturn It revolves around the sun.
According to the ESO statement, the exoplanets are the lightest ever discovered by combining detection of deviations in the star’s orbit with direct imaging.
Imaging exoplanets is notoriously difficult. Because the planets are so much darker than their host stars, astronomers can usually only obtain images of very large exoplanets orbiting very far from their stars. For example, file The first planet outside the solar system Filmed live by celebrities James Webb Space TelescopeNamed HIP 65426 b, it is 12 times more massive than Jupiter and orbits more than twice its star from Jupiter. Pluto It revolves around the sun. According to Planetary Society (Opens in a new tab). The vast majority of these distant worlds have been discovered thanks to the dimming effect they have on their parent star when they pass in front of it.
AF Leporis is huge and hot like sunIn addition to one known planet, the star also contains a solar system-like disk of debris, ESO wrote in the statement. Kuiper belt. However, AF Leporis is much smaller than the Sun. At 24 million years old, it is about 200 times younger than our star. This young age makes AF Leporis and its planetary system particularly interesting to astronomers because it can provide important insights into the evolution of our solar system.
The observations are described in two papers submitted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and are currently available online through Arxiv. here (Opens in a new tab) And here (Opens in a new tab).
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